Category Archives: Comentary

What Did They Fight For?

From each according to his ability. To each according to his need.

English: Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of ...

Consider this quote from Karl Marx for a moment.  Imagine a society where you are free to pursue your passions.  Do you like to write poetry?  Fine you can spend all day writing poetry without worring where your next meal is coming from.  Have you always dreamed of healing the sick?  You can go to medical school without worrying about crushing debt.  Enjoy music?  Sit on the corner and play your guitar all day then go home to a mortgage-free house.  Have a talent for fixing cars?  Open up your own garage and don’t worry about overhead costs.  To the Socialist Progressive, this is the goal.  A moneyless society where everything belongs to everyone and the abilities balance out the needs.  A place where, without the encumbrance of providing for our basic necessities, there will be enough people who are smart enough to become doctors, engineers and scientists, enough people know how to grow crops, make clothes, and build houses, enough people who enjoy flipping burgers, picking up trash and scrubbing toilets, to balance out those who don’t.  Sounds wonderful doesn’t it?  No one has less than anyone else.  Everyone is a Prole.  But…….. No one can ever have more.  No matter how hard you work, how much you apply yourself, you will never have any more than the slackerd who donates his time and nothing more to the collective.

It is man’s basic human nature to desire a reward for his hard work and ingenuity.  To take pride in caring for the things he owns.  When these feelings are suppressed and made out to be evil, gone is the incentive to build, create, improve.   It is basic human nature that the Socialist Progressive ignores.  Most people will not willingly hand over rightfully owned property.   We are not meant to merely survive and when reduced to that existence we will cease to produce.  The idea of a self-perpetuating Communist utopia is a lie.  In order for there to be enough makers to feed the takers, someone must be in charge.  Someone who maintains the balance of farmers, factory workers, skilled labor, and entertainers.  The promise of pursued passions is replaced by assigned careers, and forced labor camps.  The Communist goal of freeing people from the slavery of the factory owner, replaced by slavery to the government.  This is the great irony of the Socialist Progressive movement.   You do not need to look any farther than our recent past, to Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, China, and North Korea, to find evidence that this is so.

The United States was never meant to be a place where we are controlled by the government.  Every Article, Section, and word of the Constitution and Bill of rights, were carefully drafted to protect the rights of the people to control their own destinies, own property, and enjoy the fruits of their labors.  Read the Bill of Rights.  Then realize that every one of those freedoms were paid for with blood.  The heros of the Revolutionary war understood the kind of life they would lead if ruled by a tyrannical government, and they were willing to die to prevent that from happening.  From that time on, our American military has fought time and again to stop the spread of tyranny thoughout the world.  From freeing  slaves, stopping the spread of Communism, to keeping Islamic terrorism from our shores.

We don’t like war.  The whole idea is abhorrent to us, and it should be.  But consider this quote from George Orwell,

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

The phrase “Freedom isn’t free” is not just a tired cliche’.  It is the truth.  Men and women have died defending the ideals of our Constitution.  As we go about our business and barbecues this weekend, take a few minutes to think about how we as a nation have honored their sacrifice.   We have elected to office men and women who seek only to increase their own power, whose idea of a perfect America is closer to that of Marx than that of Jefferson. We have allowed our own government to attempt to disarm us, and to use its power to intimidate and silence us.

We should honor our fallen veterans by demanding our government be accountable to us.  To demand that our government uses our taxes funds wisely, and respects our individual freedoms.  We have a responsibility as citizens to be informed, to show up and vote, and vote wisely. It is not too late to take our government back.  Don’t let our heros’ deaths be in vain.

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Marriage Air Force Style

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A few months ago, my niece who lives some distance away, sent me a message with the following question.

         Was it hard being an air force wife? My boyfriend is starting to get ready for talking to recruiters and I just wanted to know if he were to get in and one day we got married how hard would it be to be an air force wife?

I spent fifteen years as a “dependent wife”.  This was a term I always despised so I came up with a better title: Military Household Management Specialist.  During this time, I have to say that I met some of the most, immature, self-absorbed, and incompetent women on the face of the earth.  Every deployment, every inconvenience was met with petulant whining and clever manipulation.  Deprived of their husbands, they expected the First Sergeants to find suitable substitutes for grass mowing, snow shoveling, car repairs, even light bulb changing and taking out the garbage.  And when the nights got too long and too cold, they found comfort in the arms of other men.  I had no respect for such women, and fortunately they were rare.  More often, I met women who were the epitome of grace, dignity, patriotism, and pride.  These strong and self-sufficient women became my role models.  They endured much.  Multiple births, major surgeries, cancer treatments, the deaths of loved ones.  All these born alone with husband and family members thousands of miles away.  Military wives help each other through these hardships and form lifelong bonds that transcend time and distance.  If the dreaded official car stops in front of your house, they are the ones who hold you up.  At the same time knowing, “there but for the grace of God”.  These are the women who inspired me.  They also humbled me. For I was blessed. Even though there were plenty of headaches, and hardships, missed anniversaries, Christmases and birthdays, my husband was there for the births of his children, and retired from service healthy and whole. Friday was Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  In honor of those who are still living the life, and those who are contemplating it, here, at the suggestion of my niece, is the answer I gave to her question.

There’s no easy one-size fits all answer to that question. I can tell you that being in the military is a hard life for families, but it can be a good and rewarding life if you have the right attitude. You have to understand that in the military the mission ALWAYS comes first. We were taught that in a Christian marriage, you put the needs of your spouse first, but it cannot be that way in a military marriage, you have to accept that you will be second, not because he wants it that way, but because it has to be that way. He might not get to be there for the birth of his children. He will miss birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmases and it will be as hard on you as it will be for him. You will move often and you will be thousands of miles away from your family and friends back home. You will be lonely and your non-military friends will not be able to relate to the life you now lead. You will need to be self-sufficient. You will have to mow grass, change light bulbs, take out the trash, and kill spiders for yourself. While your husband is deployed you will need to take responsibility for running the household. You will need to know how to pay bills, file taxes, and balance the checkbook. You will need to be trustworthy, because he will have to leave you his power of attorney, giving you the ability to handle any personal legal business for him. This will also give you the power to ruin him financially, so you have to be a woman of character. You will have to ask yourself, if you would be able to accept that he might have to kill someone in the line of duty. Would knowing that he did, change how you feel about him? You have to prepare yourself mentally for the possibility that he might be killed, but not to constantly dwell on that or you will drive yourself crazy. You will also have to teach your children how to deal with this as well. But to tell you the truth, it is worth it. You will be an important part of the support system that enables military men and women to do their jobs and get home safely. With the grace of God, you will grow and mature in ways you can’t even imagine now. You will be able to handle crisis and hardships that you never thought you could. You will get to go places and see things that you might never have the opportunity to if you weren’t a military spouse. You get to buy groceries at the commissary and shop at the BX and save a lot of money by doing so. You get military discounts at lots of stores.  You will gain the support and friendship of other military spouses. Most importantly, you get to be proud to be married to a man who is fighting to bring liberty and freedom to the world. You get to carry with you the satisfaction of knowing that the sacrifices you make, help to secure the peace of the only nation on earth that recognizes that our rights are granted by God and not government.  The most important thing you can do, is to be honest with your boyfriend about how you feel about being a military spouse. Share with him your fears and feelings now, before he signs up. If you get married, it won’t be just him serving; it will be the both of you and your children as well. This is a decision you should make together.

The Ghost of Christmas “Forward”

My Parents Tree

My Parents Tree (Photo credit: steviep187)

Robert Colton stood in the dining room of his well-appointed home, gazing though the arched opening into the living-room. The Christmas tree sparkled. Its lights dancing off the shining, shredded wrapping paper strewn underneath, the aftermath of the opening of presents.  The scrumptious aroma of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie drifted through the house, teasing the stomachs of its inhabitants. Robert’s mind was not on the scene before him.  He was reflecting on his current state of affairs. The last few years had been a roller-coaster ride for his pest-control business.  When the housing bubble was on the rise, his company was hard-pressed to keep up with the demand for new termite bonds. Then the bubble burst, and the steady stream of new houses, ready to be protected from wood destroying pests, slowed to a trickle, and then a drip.  As the economy worsened, and loyal customers had to tighten their belts, renewing those termite bonds, and keeping the roaches at bay kept getting pushed further down the list of priorities.  Still, with a good business sense, he had managed to keep the company, that he had inherited from his father, prosperous. He thought about the two young men, having a beer by the fireplace. He couldn’t be prouder of both of them.  Mark, his son, had followed him into the family business. Wade, his son-in-law, was a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He walked across the room and joined in the conversation. Mark, soon to be a dad for the first time, was expressing his anxiety about being able to provide for the baby he and his wife Jennifer, were expecting in March.  Wade, just home from his second tour in Afghanistan, was happy to be sharing the holiday with his wife Hannah, and their five-year-old daughter, Emma.  While he was glad that this was his last tour to the Middle East, he still harbored a tinge of bitterness at ending the war with the job unfinished.  He couldn’t help feeling that a tour in Iraq and two to Afghanistan, amounted to nothing more than missed birthdays, Christmases and anniversaries wasted.  Iraq wasn’t secure, the Taliban would regain control of Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda still posed a threat to world peace.

“Thank you for the Video Barbie, and the Razor chalk scooter, and the Nabi, Pawpaw.”  “You’re welcome sweetie.”  Emma bounced across the room, and twirled the skirt of her black velvet and plaid taffeta Christmas dress.  Her blond curls, tumbling around her head, gave her an angelic look.  As she danced around the living room playing with her new toys, she embodied all the innocence and hope that makes children her age so precious.  Robert loved doting on his granddaughter and in spite of the half-hearted objections from his daughter and son-in-law, he spoiled her shamelessly.  This year however, the satisfaction he got from generously giving to his children and grandchild was tinged with remorse.  Even through the recession, he was able to hang on to all of his employees.  By improving the efficiency of his business, he was able to maintain the salaries and benefits for his workers, and still provide a quality service at a decent price for his customers.   It had been a difficult balance to maintain.  Every ounce of fat had been cut.  Every waste eliminated.  But now, with the November elections, came a new hurdle to scale.  The impending repeal of the Bush Era tax cuts and the looming expenses of the Affordable Care Act would hit his company hard. He could water down his chemicals and double his prices, but his conscience told him that would drive away business instead of increasing revenue.  And in the process he would irreparably damage the sterling reputation that his father had earned and passed on to him.  He spent hours with his accountants desperately searching for another way, but it was clear he had no choice.  So on the first day of December, it was with a lead heavy heart and a lump in his throat that Robert called all sixty of his employees into his office one by one and told them that in January he would have to let eleven of them go.  “Damn” he though to himself, “these are good people and they don’t deserve this”.  Now he was left with the impossible task of  choosing who to fire.  Many of his employees had been with him for years.  He had been invited to their weddings, then their children’s weddings.  They came to him for advice.  He thought of them as family.

He cared about his employees and tried to help them out whenever he could. So when Mike, one of his technicians came to him a year ago, and asked him for help with his sister, Robert didn’t think twice about it.  Angie was twenty years old with three children. When she found herself pregnant at sixteen, she dropped out of high school and never completed her GED.  Her life was spent with various men who were happy to father children, but had no desire to be fathers to them. Her family had made it clear that they would be willing to help her find a job and get on her feet, but her dead-beat baby daddies were not welcome.  The thought of keeping a schedule and following someone else’s rules did not appeal to her, it was much easier to find a sugar-daddy to pay her bills.  When her last boyfriend was sent to jail for armed robbery, leaving her alone with no employable skills and three mouths to feed, she was finally willing to accept her family’s help.  She moved in with Mike and his wife and agreed to meet with Robert.  After an hour-long interview it was obvious that Angie lacked the skills to work in the office, but Robert wanted to help so he offered her a job as a housekeeper.  Though his wife, Kate, insisted that she didn’t need help around the house, she agreed to give Angie a chance.  Angie was to work from nine to four on weekdays, and have weekends and holidays off.  Her duties were basic housekeeping and laundry but no cooking.  Her pay would be twelve dollars an hour.  A little below the average salary for a housekeeper, but Angie could bring the baby with her to work, and Robert and Kate agreed to pay the daycare expenses for the other two.  Angie and Kate were a case study in personality contrasts. Kate had always taken pride in her home.  She liked things neat and orderly.  The beds were always made and you’d  never find a pile of dirty dishes in her kitchen.  Angie took no pride in her work.  Kate tried to instruct her in proper housekeeping techniques, but Angie insisted on taking shortcuts.  Kate would often find her watching TV in the rec-room while a basket of laundry needed folding in the wash room. Kate was more than happy to give Angie time off to be with her children when they were sick, but it was odd how a trip to the doctor usually included a side trip to the beauty parlor or nail salon.  Then there was the habit Angie had of dropping, not so subtle hints, for clothes and toys for her kids. It was not unusual for Robert to come home and find Kate mopping, vacuuming or finishing up something that Angie should have done.  So they were absolutely dumbfounded when in October, with all the righteous indignation she could muster, Angie approached them and demanded a raise. When Robert pointed out that with her work ethic and skills she would have a hard time finding a job anywhere else, let alone one that provided childcare, Angie announced, without a shred of shame, ” When Obama gets elected next month, I won’t have to worry about getting a job.  The government will pay for my food, rent, and medical care.”  Then she turned, stormed out the door and returned only to collect her last paycheck.

Country Christmas Tree

Country Christmas Tree (Photo credit: Ladycliff)

Arliss Jackson’s modest home sat on an acre of land on the perimeter of a National Forest.  The perfect place for a man who loved to hunt and fish.  Arliss and his wife, Nicole, had begun saving for a down payment as soon as they were married. Fifteen years ago, they bought the land and had a house built on it. Arliss had considered himself lucky.  He knew several men, many of whom were in construction or middle management positions, who had lost their jobs.  So far, thanks to the keen business sense of his boss, his company had managed to avoid layoffs, but now that was changing.  He had begun working during the summer for Colton Pest Control, back when he was still in high school.  Though he was grooming Robert to take over the business, Old Man Colton was still calling the shots and he liked to hire local teenagers to clean up the trucks and the yard, and do other odd jobs around the office.  The old man saw something he liked in Arliss’s attitude and work ethic, so he made him a deal.  If Arliss would keep his grades up, and work to obtain some scholarships, Old Man Colton would  pay the difference for his college degree.  So Arliss worked hard and studied hard, and when he graduated college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Entomology, Robert, who had now taken over the business, hired him as a manager. Robert knew it would be helpful to have someone in the office who could help him navigate the numerous and sometimes incomprehensible labyrinth of EPA regulations that governed the pest control business.  Arliss  enjoyed his job.  He felt a satisfaction in providing a beneficial service.  One that protected property and helped prevent the spread of disease.  He felt a loyalty to Colton Pest Control and to the Colton family who had been more than generous.  When Arliss’s son Levi was born, he had a congenital heart defect that required surgery and a lengthy hospital stay.  Robert told him to take all the time he needed to be with his son and Nicole. He even offered to cover any medical expenses the insurance didn’t.  And when they were finally able to bring Levi home from the hospital, Robert and Kate came to the house with a spaghetti dinner and casseroles for the freezer.  Arliss understood better than any of the other employees, just how heartbroken Robert was to have to let some people go.  Robert was sure to let everyone know how pleased he was with their work, and that who would stay and who would go would be determined purely by the economics of the situation.  Arliss couldn’t shake the foreboding feeling that because he was one of the highest paid employees and worked mostly in the office and not out in the field, that he would be one of the first to go.

Arliss stood in his driveway watching the multicolored lights blinking cheerfully along the eaves of his house.  They almost seemed to be mocking his apprehensive feeling.  He walked through the front door and was greeted by the comforting, cinnamon smell of glazed ham, roasted asparagus and Nicole’s famous pecan pie.  He stepped into the living-room.  The lights from the Christmas tree danced on the shining tinsel, defying the mood that Arliss was in.  He looked across the room at Levi who was hooking up a two-year old X-box 360 to the new flat screen TV.  This year Nicole did something she swore she’d never do.  She got up at three o’clock in the morning to brave a Black Friday Doorbuster sale.  Her reward was an incredible deal on the TV.  It wasn’t supposed to be the only gift, but with the uncertainty of the new year, it seemed sensible to have one gift that everyone could enjoy, rather than spending twice as much on gifts for everybody.  “I’m sorry son about the lean Christmas. I know how much you wanted a new rifle.”  “That’s OK dad” replied Levi, “I can work this summer and buy one myself.”  Levi shared his father’s passion for the outdoors.  In the fourteen years since his heart surgery, Levi had grown into a healthy, handsome young man.  He was quarterback for the Freshman football team and was active in his church youth group.  He made good grades.  Kind and respectful, he was the kind of son that would make any father proud.  It’s why Arliss ached inside, that he couldn’t give his son more.

“Dinner’s ready!” Nicole called from the dinning room.  As they gathered around the table Arliss’s mood lightened.   The tempting spread on the table before him made him glad to be hungry.  As the family gathered hands to say grace, Arliss realized how grateful he was to have such a dutiful son and the love of his wife.

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree (Photo credit: nathangibbs)

The smell of turkey, dressing and all the trimmings rose up from the kitchen to the small room of the homeless shelter that Angie shared with her three children.  The last two months hadn’t gone as she had hoped.  She had applied for food stamps and TANF and any other assistance she thought she could qualify for.  She was sure that the government would take care of her and her children so she wouldn’t have to worry about taking a job and finding childcare.  The assistance, that she was able to obtain, provided subsistence.  Not nearly the lifestyle she thought she should be provided, so she spent her days going to various charities to try to improve her position.  Mike was furious with her for walking away from the job that Robert Colton had given her.  She threw away a chance to gain some self-respect and be a good example for her children.  While her brother and his wife were ready to let Angie be responsible for herself, they were worried about what would become of the children, so after much deliberation they offered Angie and alternative.  They offered to adopt the three kids and raise them as their own.  Angie would have to sign over custody and though she would be allowed visitation, she would have no legal rights or responsibility to them.   Not wanting to believe that Mike was offering her a better life for her kids, she lashed out at him.  “Do you know how much they will cut my benefits without the kids?” she yelled.  “ I need those kids to get my money!”   And so, with all her desperation and wounded pride, she gathered up her children and their meager possessions and left without a thank you or good-bye.  She wandered the streets for a couple of days, finally winding up at the Our Savior’s Mercy homeless shelter.  She did not contact her brother or anyone else.  Mike searched for her, because he didn’t want Angie to be alone for Christmas, but he could not find her.

After Christmas dinner was served and the dishes put away, Arliss, Nicole and Levi gathered at Our Savior’s Mercy church as they had for the past ten years.  The church held a toy drive every year and the employees of Colton Pest Control were always one of their largest donors.  Robert liked to make a contest out of the annual event and agreed to match one to one every toy his employees brought in.  After the toys were sorted and bagged according to age and gender, the congregation would meet every Christmas evening and distribute the toys.  The church ran a large homeless shelter and provided toys for many needy families in the area.  The need this year was overwhelming, and with so many having to take lower paying jobs, the donations were down.  The group set out eager to bring a toy to a child that they knew would not otherwise have one.  After visiting house after house in the poorer parts of town, the group wound up at the homeless shelter.  They knocked on the door to Angie’s room.  She opened the door and the sight that greeted the church group was cheerless.  A picture of a Christmas tree that was colored by Angie’s four-year-old daughter was taped to the window.  It was the only decoration in the room.  The two pajamaed children sat on a bed, an eager look on their faces.  Nicole gave the girl a knock off Barbie doll, and gave the three-year-old boy a football.  She handed Angie an age appropriate stuffed animal for the baby.  The kids seemed somewhat disappointed in what they were given, and Angie was livid.  “I waited in line for six hours to register and this is all you have for my children?”  “I’m sorry,” Nicole, explained, “ times are hard and we had barely enough toys to go around this year.”

“I don’t want to hear your sob story.” Angie shot back.  “Those rich bastards like that Robert Colton can surely afford to buy some decent toys for less fortunate kids like mine.”  “If he paid his fair share then maybe I could get more money and I could afford to buy my kids some toys myself.”  Nicole choked back the tears and stepped out into the hall where other members of the congregation were gathering after handing out their toys.   As they walked back to the van, she said to the pastor’s wife, “I used to get so much joy out of handing out the toys, but women like that just make me feel used.”  The pastor’s wife tried to cheer her up. “ I know it’s discouraging, but remember we do it to show others Christ’s love for us.”  The van pulled up to the church and the members of the congregation returned to their vehicles.  As the members bade each other good night Arliss called out “Merry Christmas!”  He got in the driver’s seat, started the truck and said to Nicole, “I try to say that to everyone.” Nicole replied, “You should, while you still can”

When Legal and Moral Collide

Anti abortion rally in Washington, D.C. Decemb...

Anti abortion rally in Washington, D.C. December 2004. My own work. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have always disliked the “pro-choice”/ “pro-life” titles for the sides on the abortion debate. It simply would have been more truthful to say “pro-abortion”, or “anti-abortion”.  Abortion advocates would like us to believe that the moral determination as to whether or not the embryo or fetus inside is a living thing, is a personal decision that each woman must decide for herself.  This is scientifically incorrect.  Even from the earliest stages an embryo exhibits the basic criteria for being alive.  The real moral question that a woman considering abortion must decide, is at what stage and under what circumstances is the taking of that life justifiable?  When I ask myself that question it becomes obvious that an abortion should only, ever be considered as the last resort to a dire circumstance. A woman who has been raped is in a dire circumstance.  A woman who must choose between life saving cancer treatment that would kill her unborn child or leaving the children she already has motherless, is in a dire circumstance.  A woman who is carrying a child with birth defects so severe as to be incompatible with life is in a dire circumstance. Even as a Christian, I could not sit in judgement of a woman, who faced with such a gut wrenching decision, would terminate a pregnancy. Though I might not have made the same choice.  A woman who gets caught with her hand in the cookie jar? That’s a different story.  There is never a “perfect” time to have a baby. Pregnancies are always expensive, inconvenient and somewhat embarrassing.  Those are never good reasons to have an abortion.  If you feel that you are not mature enough to raise a child, or that now is not the “right” time for you be a mother, there are options available to you that do not require killing a baby.

I felt it was necessary to clarify my position on abortion, because now I am going to say something that many conservative, Christians will strongly disagree with.

It is time to take Abortion, as a political issue, off the table.

By making a willingness to overturn Roe vs. Wade the litmus test for Republican candidates, we have played right into the hands of our enemies  and given them a club to beat us over the head with.  This has never been more apparent than in the last election, with its fictitious “war on women”.  Even with no basis in fact, the liberal left was able to turn an erroneous perception into a political slogan that became a wave of misinformed women voters that turned the tide of the election. Moderate conservatives have shied away from candidates that they felt were too hard-core, while Evangelicals lambasted the same candidates for being too soft.  All the while, the left eagerly exploits the irony that a group that fights for less governmental control of our private lives, fights to give the government control of a very private women’s issue.  Our legal system allows many things that are immoral or at the very least bad for us.  We must acknowledge that in most cases where the federal government tries to legislate morality, it does a very poor job.  Prohibition, the “war on drugs”, “don’t ask don’t tell”, and affirmative action are just a few examples. Can we accept the difference between moral and legal without compromising our values? Absolutely. Unlike the contraception mandate in the affordable care act, that requires businesses run by religious organizations to provide birth control to their employees, even if it goes against their religious tenants, Roe vs. Wade does not compel us to have abortions.   The problem isn’t that abortions are legal, it’s that women choose to have abortions of convenience. The real battle isn’t about overturning a law, it’s about changing attitudes about the sanctity of life.  We can still continue to put up billboards, hand out literature, educate the public, and provide services and alternatives  for pregnant women. We can teach our daughters, granddaughters, and nieces that abortion is wrong in the eyes of God. The battle should continue to be fought on the street corners, our homes and from the pulpit. Just not in the halls of Congress.

Hard or Hardship Government Economics vs the Household Budget

quora.com

quora.com

I sat at my desk today, doing what I do every Thursday. Juggling bills. As I pondered how much I would have left for groceries, after paying the phone bill, and gassing up the old “Silver Toilet”( my very thirsty pickup truck), a thought occurred to me. How is it that so many people have no real understanding of our national debt? We hear about it all the time, ” our grandchildren will be faced with the burden of our national debt”. But do we ever really think about what that means to us as individuals?  Household economics is really pretty straightforward.  If there is no money left after paying the bills, then you don’t eat.  Skip out on your power bill, you sit in the dark, decide you’d rather go on vacation than pay your mortgage, bye-bye home.  Real life teaches us that if you continue to spend more than you make, eventually it will all come crashing down around you.

It works the same way with the government.  It doesn’t matter what kind of fancy economic theory you adhere to, the simple fact is that our country is broke. I know, you’ve heard that before, so what?  Well, what that means to me is that I’ll have to depend on myself more, and government less.  It means that the Pell grant my daughter depended on for college isn’t going to be there, my Tricare premiums are increasing, and Social Security isn’t even a factor in my retirement planning.  It doesn’t matter what the politicians promise, we have two choices, realize that we are going to have to accept cuts to government programs now, or wait until the government defaults and then completely lose that safety net while the economy implodes on itself sucking us in with it.  Either way we will have to become less dependent on to government.

Given that cuts are inevitable, what makes more sense, to have a president that aims to control more of the population by increasing their dependency on government programs? Or a president who can make the tough cuts necessary to balance the budget?  We have to ask ourselves, do we want to suffer the controlled hardships of a government learning to live within its means? The way the rest of us do.  Or do we want to live through the devastation of a complete economic meltdown?

Americans have a noble tradition of  pulling on our boots, rolling up our sleeves, and shouldering the work.  We don’t run from hardship, we face it head on, grit our teeth and gut it out.  It will be interesting to see, if this new voting generation will rise to the challenge, or if they will just curl up in the fetal position, consoling themselves with You Tube and reality TV, while waiting for a savior to come and bail them out.

On my way to Chic Fil A

Crowd at my local Chic Fil A

Today in stock yards all across the nation, the cattle enjoyed a one day stay of execution. That’s because there was little demand for beef as people crowded into their local Chic Fil A to show their support of Dan Cathy’s First Amendment rights. It was a thirty minute wait for those wonderful waffle fries and peach milkshakes. As my son and I stood in line, I was amazed by what I saw. The line reached around to the back of the building. The drive through line all the way though the parking lot, down the driveway and out to the highway. There were even cops directing the traffic. We had to park a lot away. People even showed up in a church bus.

They even came by bus.

The mood was neighborly, friendly and festive. What was even more impressive was what I didn’t see. There were no honking horns and hand gestures. No cutting in line. No bored indifferent employees. There were so many “thank you’s” and “pardon me’s” you would’ve thought it was a finishing school exam. Even those who may have disagreed with Dan Cathy’s position showed an enormous amount of class by not showing up to protest.  I left with the impression that these people get it.  This wasn’t a gay marriage thing, it wasn’t even a Christian thing.  It was a Constitutional thing.  When the government, be it local, state, or national, tries to silence the opinions of decent, moral, hardworking folks, we just can’t take that lying down.  They didn’t during the Boston Tea Party, they didn’t on July 4th, 1776, and we didn’t on Aug 1st 2012.

Obama Faces Questions on Federal Fight for Same Sex Marriage

Just days after affirming his support for same-sex marriage, President Obama today declined to say whether he would go a step further and publicly take up the fight to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. While the administration has already stopped defending legal challenges to…

via Obama Faces Questions on Federal Fight for Same Sex Marriage.

The Real Life of Julia

Reflections of a Rational Republican has introduced me to “Julia” the cartoon solder of the fictitious Republican “War on Women”.  Both the Obama Campaign and the Heritage Foundation have differing versions about the “Life of Julia“. While the Obama Campaign’s version touts the benefits of living in a cradle to grave socialist utopia, the Heritage Foundation’s version extolls the virtues of freedom of choice. Neither version truly depicts the reality of Julia right here, right now. This is my version of the “Real Life of Julia” without the cutesy graphics. It depicts what her life would be like at each age, if she were that age today.

Age 3

Both of Julia’s parents work.  Their combined incomes put them in an income bracket too high to qualify for head start or other programs designed for underprivileged children.  After “doing the math” her parents decide that the high cost of quality day care makes it impractical for both of them to work. Julia’s mom’s income is less than her father’s so Julia’s mom decides to stay home with her.

Age 17

It was important to Julia’s parents to bring her up in as safe a neighborhood as possible. They purchased a modest home in a decent suburb.  Because she lives in a working class family her parents  cannot afford private school.  Therefore Julia has spent her youth in the public school system.  Her state uses standardized tests to measure  the performance of the teachers, schools, and students.  Because the teacher’s unions have made it difficult to weed out ineffective teachers, and because school administrators fear the loss of state and federal funding due to government programs such as race to the top, classroom time is consumed with teaching children how to pass the standardized tests instead of proficiency in basic skills.   Sports, music classes, and pay raises for competent teachers are cut due to a lack of funds, but administration costs remain high.  PE and recess are cut and replaced with programs to teach environmental awareness, anti-bullying, drug avoidance, and sexual abuse defence techniques that are of little value in real world situations.  Julia’s parents stressed the importance of doing her best and made sure she did her homework.  They communicated regularly with her teachers.  Because of this, Julia worked hard and made good grades.

Age 18

Because she has made good grades Julia has qualified for a modest state sponsored scholarship.  She barely qualifies for a Pell grant because her parent’s income is almost to high even though they do not make enough to pay any of her college expenses.  She chooses a community college because it is the most cost-effective option, allowing her to live at home and commute to class.  Her scholarship and grant still are not enough to completely cover her school and expenses so she works part-time to fill the gap.  Her public school education has left her unprepared for college level work, she takes advantage of the resources the college offers, but in spite of her efforts to study hard, she fails her math and english courses.  Because the state sponsored scholarship pays some of the costs of trade school, Julia decides to drop out of college and attend cosmetology school.

Age 22

Julia has to undergo emergency surgery for an appendicitis.  The recent passage of Obama care mandates that she is covered under her parents care until age 26, however, before the passage of Obama care, she still would have been covered under her parents’ policy until her 23rd birthday because she is a student.

Age 23-25

Julia finishes cosmetology school and begins her career as a hair stylist. At first she lives with her parents, but through hard work and dedication to her career she lands a job at a prestigious salon and moves into her own apartment.  Among the benefits provided are health insurance and the opportunity to participate in a 401K program.   This particular salon offered such benefits even before Obama care was passed. Her insurance pays for mammograms, pap smears, yearly exams, and maternity care. Her copay for prescription birth control is fifty percent of the cost, but because she is focusing on establishing herself in this business and building a clientele, she has little time for a relationship or casual sex.

Age 29-31

Julia meets Ethan a local electrician.  They begin a relationship.  Julia explains to Ethan that since he would assume half the responsibility for raising a child, he should share half the responsibility for the cost of birth control. Ethan agrees. (He’s a keeper).  Since her insurance pays for half of the fifty dollar cost of birth control pills* and Ethan pays half of her half, her cost for the pill is a manageable $12.50 a month.  Julia and Ethan marry and decide to have a child.  Her maternity and child-birth costs are covered minus the $25.00 office copays and a $500.00 deductable. Because she and Ethan planned ahead for this child, money was saved and these expenses prove to be little problem for them.  Even though money is tight, they still make too much for Zachary to qualify for head start or other daycare options for underprivileged children.  Because neither of them can afford to quit their jobs, Julia’s mother agrees to watch little Zachary.

Age 37

Zachary starts preschool.   His parents make too much money for Zachary to qualify for school vouchers designed to give underprivileged children a chance at a better education, but they do not make enough to place him in private school.  His parents depend on both incomes to get by, so having Julia quit her job to home school Zachary is out of the question.  Julia has no other option but to place Zachary into the inferior public school system.

Age 42

Julia is a well-known stylist around town and has built up a loyal clientele.  She decides to open her own salon.  She qualifies for a small business  administration loan and purchases equipment.  She rents chair space to beginning hair stylists and teaches them the latest techniques.  In spite of a loyal and growing customer base, she is barely breaking even. The regulatory costs of the required insurances and licenses are high and the time required to keep up with the paperwork keeps her from her customers.  When the ADA fines her $25,000.00 for failure to install a wheelchair accessible styling chair even though she has no disabled customers or employees, she realizes she can no longer keep up.  Julia sadly informs her stylists and customers she must close.  She sells her salon equipment to pay off the fine and the remainder of her SBA loan. She then takes a job as an instructor at the local beauty college.

Age 65

Julia enrolls in medicare.  She has difficulty finding a competent doctor that accepts the plan.  She must pay out-of-pocket for a medicare supplement insurance plan to cover the gaps.  Ethan dies suddenly of a heart attack leaving her without his income. Fortunately he had the foresight to purchase life insurance even though paying the premiums was sometimes a struggle.  This allows Julia to pay off the mortgage and Ethan’s funeral expenses.

Age 67

Julia applies for Social Security.  The amount is nowhere near enough to cover her monthly expenses.  She rolled over her 401K into an IRA but was not always able to contribute to it when her business was struggling.  She realizes that her available cash flow is not enough to live on so she continues to work part-time at the beauty school as a receptionist so she doesn’t have to spend hours on her feet.

The truth is, neither scenario, whether it is Obama’s or the Heritage Foundations’s is going to help working class Julia.  Making her dependent on the government for her cradle to grave care will eventually backfire like it did in Greece.  Once the producers have been bled dry and robbed of any incentive to create wealth, the money will run out and untold misery will ensue.  On the other hand, unbridled capitalism will not reduce the cost of healthcare and education to the point where they will be within reach of working class families.  While it will create more freedom of choice, those choices mean nothing if you can’t afford them.

* Information on the cost of birth control pills was obtained from the Planned Parenthood website.

Understanding the Occupiers Part Two

Day 3 of the protest Occupy Wall Street in Man...

Day 3 of the protest Occupy Wall Street in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little over a month ago in a post entitled “Understanding the Occupiers”, I posed ten questions that I felt would be a reasonable measure of personal responsibility and life experience.  I was hoping to reach people who had attended a protest, but didn’t really fit the media profile of an Occupier.  The response was, well let’s just say it was not overwhelming.  I got a couple of comments from LiberalTalkingPoints. Housewifedownunder answered the questions,and turned out to be just the kind of response I was hoping for.  My two commenters were from two different ideologies, yet both expressed genuine frustration at the lack of opportunities for today’s young adults.  It is my hope that the leaders of business and industry will listen to the desperation of these young people and will create jobs for those who are really willing to work. I hope the government will ease its regulatory burden so that they will be able to do so.  And I hope that our universities become a place where young people are taught how to be competitive in a world economy rather that a place of political indoctrination.  As for the Occupiers themselves, I hope that as they continue onto adulthood, they will realize that there are better ways than civil disobedience to be heard and taken seriously.

Blood On Their Hands

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales sits in Leavenworth awaiting what will most likely be a conviction and death sentence for killing innocent Afghani women and children. What he did is unforgivable, and goes against everything the United States military stands for. I have seen the effects of multiple deployments on military members and their families.  The high rates of suicide, domestic violence, and PTSD are evidence that there are limits to how much stress a human being can endure.  Limits the military leadership has chosen to ignore.  Sgt Bales is not alone in his guilt. There are many who have facilitated his transformation from an average man into a monster.

The unofficial military mission statement of “doing more with less”,  the Secretaries of Defense that pushed it and the commanders who bought into it all share the blame.  The dream of a “Lean Mean Fighting Machine” would only be possible if the military were staffed with robots, but it is not. It is staffed with men and women who think, feel, love and fear.  Who have families and lives back home. It is their humanity that makes them vulnerable to the horrors of war, but it is also their humanity that gives them  a reason to preserve the dream of liberty anywhere in the world. It gives them the courage to willingly accept that the cost of freedom could be their very lives.  This courage should not be taken for granted.  Every military doctor who has proclaimed a troop “fit for combat” when he should have been sent home, every commander who has  proclaimed his unit ready when deep down he knew they weren’t, shares in the guilt.   Every officer who has ever put his career ahead of his troops, every military leader who lacked the courage to tell his superiors the truth, that his unit was undermanned and stretched to the breaking point, shares the guilt.  Every Secretary of Defense who failed to make unpopular decisions on how to increase manning, every Commander-in-Chief who was told what he wanted to hear and bought it, shares the guilt.

After all the investigations, reports and hearings, are concluded and “band-aid” recommendations are put in place we will still be left with a military that is undermanned and weary.   We ask our military men and women to carry an unimaginable burden.  Our military leadership owes the Afghanis and Sgt Bales’ family, who is now left without a husband and father, more than an apology.  They are owed and honest assessment of what went wrong, and real solutions to prevent it from happening again. Until the people at the Pentagon find a way to bring more men and women in and retain the well-trained troops already in place, the stress of repeated deployments will create more  Sgt Bales’.

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